“Rock of Ages”
Well, musicals are musicals and – aside from the latest version of “Les Miserables” – they are usually the same. There’s a love story at its heart. There’s a conflict as a background that pulls the love story apart. It’s usually a period piece. There’s usually a stand –out comedic character or two that is highlighted. “Rock of Ages” is EXACTLY this formula. But hey, it’s the hair-metal and power ballads of the ‘80s that this one is set in – and it delivers on “nothin’ but a good time”.
The sex element of this tale is pushed a little further than is comfortable – for pretty much all audience members, regardless of age. I know: sex sells. But seriously? I really don’t need so much of it thrown in my face, especially in a musical of all places! I know a lot of kids today think they know a little something about the ‘80s and the music of that era. (sigh) I can assure you, young readers – it wasn’t all quite like that. Sex was not THAT rampant. (There were times in “Rock of Ages” that I thought somebody just wanted a musical ABOUT sex.)
This is what I say about the musical. Julianne Hough is pretty entertaining, both as singer and as actress. Tom Cruise really went out on a limb with this role and I think he succeeded in a lot of ways. His acting is getting better with age, undoubtedly. Alec Baldwin is pretty awesome in it. Russell Brand was entertaining. Catherine Zeta-Jones was okay. And the main actor in the lead role was fine – and by “fine” I mean his identity is irrelevant.
It is a decent movie, fairly entertaining. Nothing spectacular and nothing to jump up and down about and howl at the moon about. What it did do, was plant a lot of ’80s tunes in my head. I think there were a lot of great songs from my high school days. Yep, I remember my jean-jacketed senior year and a lot of fashions that came & went in my high school. I could name the cliques and the music they all listened to. I often felt that a musical set in the 1980s in high school would be totally rad. (Yep, I just went THERE.) Come on! Admit it: the 1980s music was MADE for a musical! Everything from Phil Collin’s “Coming in the Air Tonight” to Twisted Sister’s “We’re not Gonna Take It” to The Cars “Heartbreak City” could be strung together and made into one epic ‘80s musical!
That’s the sad part about “Rock of Ages” – it just wasn’t awesome enough. No parachute pants? What about the classic bandanas tied over your high-tops? Where were the Mohawks? And Quiet Riot “Cum on Feel the Noize” is only played over the credits? COME ONE! That was like my high school’s anthem the year it came out! No Dire Straits either? Sheeeesh. Obviously, my take on the ‘80s differs vastly from the creators of “Rock of Ages”. Regardless, it wasn’t like gag me with a spoon. It just wasn’t totally tubular. I mean, I can sum it up for you in one perfect sentence: for a ‘80s rock song extravaganza, there wasn’t one Van Halen song to be found therein. ‘Nuff said.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE.